Edmonson County - New Deal Programs Collection
Western Kentucky University Library special CollectionsBowling Green, Kentucky, 42101-3576 USA
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item] Edmonson County- New Deal Programs Collection, 1933-1940, MSS 95,Library Special Collections, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green.
3 boxes, 23 folder, 1620 items.
The New Deal was the collective name for the programs introduced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his staff to combat the economic crisis known as the Great Depression. The economic crisis had a number of causes, many predating the stock market crash in October 1929. Herbert Hoover made few attempts to alleviate the suffering caused by the crisis, believing that government should refrain from taking the role of private charity. Appearing stiff and uncaring, Hoover was defeated in the 1932 presidential election by former New York governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt, surrounded by a cadre of bright advisors, began immediately to address the basic needs of Americans particularly the unemployed. Roosevelt opposed the dole, promoting work programs instead.
Three of these work programs are represented in this collection: the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the National Youth Administration (NYA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). CCC was established in 1933 to help put young men to work in the nation's state forests. Originally plans specified that the CCC would hire only unmarried men, eighteen years to twenty-five, from needy families and would place them in camps for six-month terms. By the time the program ended in mid-1943 over 2.5 million men had served at hundreds of camp sites and had, among other things, planted approximately 2.3 billion trees. In Kentucky, CCC men worked in almost all the state parks and in the new Mammoth Cave National Park. The National Youth Administration, begun in 1935, was started to help high school and college age students find part-time jobs and remain in school. Although the NYA served more people than the CCC it never captured the public's imagination as the Corps did. The WPA was created in 1935 and became the largest and most expensive relief program ever. By the time it closed operations in 1943, the WPA had spent approximately eleven billion dollars and employed as many as three million workers at one time. An estimated nine million Americans were on its payroll at some time during its existence.
For information about the New Deal in Kentucky, see George T. Blakey's Hard Times and New Deal in Kentucky, 1929-1939 (Kentucky Library, F456.B53 1986)
The Edmonson County New Deal Program Files, donated to the Kentucky Building by Scottie and Ethel Woodcock in 1994, contain information about the CCC, NYA, and WPA in Edmonson County from 1933 to 1942. The materials consist of administrative files for registrars and deal more with enrolling workers than anyprojects on which they were involved. Approximately two-thirds of the collection consists of CCC applications and collateral information for 236 young Edmonson County men. These applications contain basic information about the men applying, such as: age, birthplace, height, weight, family members at home, work experience, educational and vocational interests, school attended and last grade level attained, and the camp to which they were assigned. The NYA records consist chiefly of administrative correspondence, but it too contains applications for 17 young people. The brief applications include the following information: age, address, marital status, grade in school, family members at home, and provides a brief place for comments. The correspondence does include information about a NYA program at Western Kentucky University (then Western State Teachers College) and Murray State University (then Murray State Teachers College). The WPA records consist of applications for clothing and nine work history files for individuals employed by WPA.
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